Education and Employment Background
Dr. Robert Wickham received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1997. Between 1997 and 1999 he held a position as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Florida. From 1999 to 2003, he worked as a visiting scientist at Xerox Research Centre of Canada and as a Research Associate at McMaster University. Wickham held a position as an Assistant Professor of Physics at St. Francis Xavier University from 2003 to 2008. Wickham joined the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph in 2008 where he is now an Associate Professor and Deputy Graduate Coordinator.
Wickham’s research is focused on theoretical soft materials physics. He explores two fundamental aspects of polymeric materials: the formation of nanostructures in polymeric and biological materials via self-assembly, and the interplay between these structures and the dynamical evolution of the polymeric material. Self-assembled macromolecular aggregates find applications as, for example, nanolithographic templates, paints, adhesives, and drug delivery vehicles, and also form important structural elements in cells. To tackle the challenge of modeling these complex many-body systems, his group uses a combination of sophisticated analytical theory and high-performance computation. Key areas of interest include:
- Influence of confinement on the self-assembly of nanostructures in block copolymers.
- Kinetics of order-order transitions in block copolymers.
- Development of accurate field theories for polymer dynamics.
- Modelling the mechanical response of peptidoglycan networks in bacteria.
- Modelling the structure of aggregates of pore-forming, antimicrobial peptides, and developing theories of peptide-cell membrane interactions.
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant, 2010, 2016
- SHARCNET Resource Allocation Committee, Guelph, Canada, 2017